Minnesota Wild @ Toronto Maple Leafs: Game 47

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Minnesota Wild (22-17-7) at Toronto Maple Leafs (22-18-5)

Air Canada Centre @ 6:00 PM CST
Television: FSN
Listen Live at: KFAN (100.3) or Wild.com

For the Toronto perspective, check out Pension Plan Puppets

Minnesota Wild Toronto Maple Leafs

Dany Heatley - Warren Peters - Devin Setoguchi
Casey Wellman - Matt Cullen - Cal Clutterbuck
Darroll Powe - Kyle Brodziak - Nick Johnson
Brad Staubitz - David McIntyre - Carson McMillan

Marek Zidlicky - Greg Zanon
Nick Schultz - Mike Lundin
Jared Spurgeon - Clayton Stoner

Niklas Backstrom
Josh Harding

Matthew Lombardi - Tyler Bozak - Phil Kessel
Clarke MacArthur - Mikhail Grabovski - Nikolai Kulemin
Joffrey Lupul - Tim Connolly - Nazem Kadri
Joey Crabb - David Steckel - Mike Brown

Dion Phaneuf - Luke Schenn
Carl Gunnarsson - Mike Komisarek
Jake Gardiner - Cody Franson

Jonas Gustavsson
James Reimer

Quick poll - how many of you feel the Wild can win this one?

The Maple Leafs come in riding a three game losing streak. Wild fans pine for the day when it was only three. The Leafs have a similar record to the Wild, but after that, the similarities end. They have Kessel to score goals, they have Komisarek who plays some defense, and they have goalies that tend to stop the puck from time to time. Only time to time, though.

They have their struggles, just like any other team, and those struggles are always amplified by the Toronto media, which is about as intense as they come. Nothing goes without scrutiny, and anything they don't know, they often just make up. It has proven ugly several times in the past few years, none more so than this season after GM Brian Burke and coach Ron Wilson joined Twitter. The ins and outs of the network confounded some of the media and they felt slighted. Over Twitter. Awesome.

Right now, neither team shouldn't give a rip about the media. Both have issues to resolve, and all of them are on the ice. Winning solves everything. Win, the problems stop. Simple as that.

The Wild trot out some new lines, and a return of the third line that did so well in the early part of the season. Can the Walz / Gaborik effect help Peters / Heatley? It can't be worse than the "one scorer, one worker" idea against the Flyers.

Niklas Backstrom returns after missing a few games due to what sounds like a nasty bug. The guy lost six pounds. I've seen him. He doesn't have six pounds to lose. Yuk. How he responds to being back in game action will play a large part in how this game goes for the Wild.

Play the system, win the game. Simple as that. Right?

Five Questions:

  1. Does Heatley / Peters / Setoguchi work?
  2. How does Backstrom look in his return?
  3. Justin Falk sits. Can Zanon steal his spot?
  4. How well does the Wellman - Cullen - Clutterbuck line work?
  5. Anyone coming out to Skate for the Troops on Saturday?
Enjoy the Wild's warm up songs before the game:

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